Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri has released a statement, after new video footage of him being shoved by an Alameda County sheriff’s deputy surfaced.
The incident happened shortly after the Raptors won the NBA championship in Oakland, as Ujiri attempted to join his team on the court to celebrate.
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The video shows Ujiri flashing his credentials before being shoved aggressively twice by the Alameda County sheriff’s deputy Alan Strickland. Strickland later filed a federal lawsuit against Ujiri, the Raptors, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, and the NBA, alleging he suffered “permanent disability” due to the altercation.
After viewing the video, that seems pretty hard to believe.
On Thursday, Ujiri released a statement thanking “everybody who has expressed disappointment and concern,” about the video that was released. The Raptors President did not mince words when explaining why the incident happened.
“Unfortunately, I was reminded in that moment that despite all of my hard work and success, there are some people, including those who are supposed to protect us, who will always and only see me as something that is unworthy of respectful engagement,” said Ujiri. “And, there’s only one indisputable reason why that is the case – because I am Black.”
Ujiri later went on to say that the only reason he is getting justice is because of his success as President of an NBA team.
“So many of my brothers and sisters haven’t had, don’t have, and won’t have the same access to resources that assured my justice,” he said. “And that’s why Black Lives Matter.”
Here is Ujiri’s full statement:
Thank you to everybody who has expressed disappointment and concern regarding the video that was recently released. My family and I are deeply grateful for your care and consideration.
The video sadly demonstrates how horribly I was treated by a law enforcement officer last year in the midst of my team, the Toronto Raptors, winning its first world championship. It was an exhilarating moment of achievement for our organization, for our players, for our city, for our country, and for me personally, given my long-tenured professional journey in the NBA. Yet, unfortunately, I was reminded in that moment that despite all of my hard work and success, there are some people, including those who are supposed to protect us, who will always and only see me as something that is unworthy of respectful engagement. And, there’s only one indisputable reason why that is the case – because I am Black.
What saddens me most about this ordeal is that the only reason why I am getting the justice I deserve in this moment is because of my success. Because I’m the President of a NBA team, I had access to resources that ensured I could demand and fight for my justice. So many of my brothers and sisters haven’t had, don’t have, and won’t have the same access to resources that assured my justice. And that’s why Black Lives Matter.
And that’s why it’s important for all of us to keep demanding justice. Justice for George. Justice for Breonna. Justice for Elijah. Justice for far too many Black lives that mattered. And justice for Black people around the world, who need our voice and our compassion to save their lives.
Those are the ties that bind us.
With love and determination,